Dragon’s Crown is a simple in concept, yet complex in execution 2D hack n’ slash RPG for the PlayStation Vita and PS3. Developed by Vanillaware and published by Atlus, players find themselves exploring dark dungeons, castle chambers, and even lush forest in search of the Dragon’s Crown.
Dragon’s Crown starts you off by selecting one of the six playable characters. You have your choice of the Dwarf, Fighter, Amazon, Elf, Wizard, and Sorceress. I choose the Elf for my first play through but I have played as the Fighter. Each has their own special abilities and play styles. What Vanillaware does very well is clearly labeling which character is for which type of player you want to be. If you want a challenge then selecting the Wizard won’t be a walk in the park. If you take the Fighter out instead you will have an easier experience.
Dragon’s Crown’s gameplay is good, but not great. At times I find myself losing my character and taking damage just because I can’t find my person. They have since updated the game to help with this, adding colored circles around your player although still the issues are present. On top of this issue there also is a noticeable frame rate issue. Another problem is that it’s a 2D game that lets you move up in down in a 2D plain. By doing this you have to be almost perfectly lined up with the enemy or you will be just swinging at air. This can be especially frustrating when playing as the Elf, because shooting her arrows have to be almost dead on.
Dragon’s Crown has a neat feature that may help you along your quests. By finding bones on the levels you can go to the Canaan Temple and have them resurrected to help fight beside you. These AI can be really helpful especially keeping the enemies distracted.
One of the things done well is loot and equipment. Every time you find a chest you use your friend Rannie to unlock the chests by tapping on them with the touchscreen. After a level is complete you get to see the items you collected, the catch though is that each item needs to be appraised to see what it actual does stat wise. You do get to see it class whether it be a ‘D’ grade or ‘S’ grade. Using your money wisely you can either sell all the items or just appraise the ones you want to keep. After returning from a level checking on your equipment’s durability is a good thing to do, by going to Morgan (the item shop) you can fix all your equipment for a fee of course. Even with its faults, Dragon’s Crown still brings us a great experience on the Vita.
When you first pop in Dragon’s Crown you will notice just how colorful and detailed everything is. With a rich environment and creative enemy designs, it would be hard pressed to find anything lacking detail. If you’re offended with half-dressed men and women then this one could seem a bit much for you. I personally have no problem with the art direction they took.
After playing a lot of single player and having all these issues with frame rate, I wasn’t looking forward to trying out multiplayer. Usually with bad frame rate and jumping into a multiplayer match these issues will get amplified. The surprising thing that I noticed was it actually seemed to play better online. There wasn’t any frame rate issues and the lag was only slightly noticeable. There was a bit of lag for hit detection basically when I shot an arrow my hit wouldn’t register right away. It didn’t seem to mess me up with timing. While playing online it seemed to be much easier to survive. After a level is complete you have the same option as single player to continue your journey for a better reward or collect your earnings. If you decide to continue though you will be put in another game if the other players decide to not continue. All this is done very painlessly.
Dragon’s Crown may not be perfect, but with great graphics, a fun grind, and a well-built multiplayer it is a good buy. With the issues aside I had a lot of fun with this one. Unfortunately the problems are so common that it became hard to get over. If you wait for a sale this game is a must buy, but at full price it can be a bit of a letdown. If you’re not into grinding and a bit of repetitive gameplay this title is probably not for you.